- Retail sales rose 0.3% in October from the prior month
- Existing-home sales rose 4.3% in October, while new housing starts rose 4.9%
- Total industrial production grew 1.1% in the month of October
Top Three Market Headlines
Retail Sales Growth Moderates in October: According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, spending at online retailers, restaurants, and brick-and-mortar stores increased 0.3% in October from the prior month. While this marked the sixth straight month of expansion, it was the slowest month-over-month increase since May. The weaker rate of spending growth was linked to consumers tempering their behavior amid rising COVID-19 case counts, slowing payroll gains, and fading government assistance. As consumers pivoted away from categories such as grocery stores, clothing stores, and restaurants, they increased spending on vehicles, electronics, and home-improvement products.
U.S. Housing Market Flourishes: Buoyed by record-low borrowing costs, the U.S. housing market strengthened further in October. Existing-home sales rose 4.3% from the prior month, hitting a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million, their highest level since February 2006. Meanwhile, a shortage of existing homes combined with increased demand has greatly benefited U.S. homebuilders. Housing starts rose in October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.53 million units, up 14.2% from the prior year, while the National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index of overall builder sentiment hit 90 in October, nearly double the positive threshold of 50.
Industrial Production Improves: Total industrial production grew 1.1% in October from the prior month, according to the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report released last Tuesday by the Federal Reserve. While the index has recovered much of its 16.5% decline that occurred from February to April this year, output in October remained 5.6% lower than its pre-pandemic level. Capacity utilization also rose in October, increasing to 72.8%, the highest level in eight months, but still short of the 77.0% level seen in February.Please note: There will be no Weekly Market Update published next Monday, November 30. We would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!